The 2014 Fantasy Football Auction Values Payroll Index #FantasyFootball
Anyone who has participated in an auction draft knows that it's not about simply selecting the best players, but putting your fantasy football payroll dollars to work most efficiently. If you spend big money on Peyton Manning or Drew Brews, how do you find good auction values at running back and receiver?
This year we've changed our formula slightly and analyzed performance over multiple seasons, comparing that to ESPN auction values. We're basing our projections on PPR, rushing and receiving yards, passing yards and touchdowns.
Note: This is not a list of the BEST players in fantasy football, rather the ones you can get for the least fantasy dollars that can still produce. Anyone can tell you to pick Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson and Calvin Johnson. We're here to tell you who to take when those guys are gone and your fantasy payroll is running low. Without further ado, check out our top 5 values at each position:
- Tom Brady - We have him as third in our rankings of overall performance. Yet he goes for only $2. Are you really going to let one subpar season scare you off when he's $47 less than Peyton Manning? The value potential is enormous.
- Matt Ryan - He's been a model of consistency for the Falcons and ranks fifth on in our overall performance rankings at a cost of only $2.
- Andy Dalton - Is he really worth that new $96 million contract? Doesn't matter, that's not the payroll you're worried about. The question is, can he perform for your fantasy football team? He's a top 7 QB and he'll cost you just $1.
- Andrew Luck - His auction value is $14, so he's not as deep a value as our other picks, but his potential to outperform is probably greater.
- Tony Romo - He's coming off a back surgery, but at just $1 with his history of performance, you could be getting him at his best price ever.
Who to Avoid
Matthew Stafford - He's the fourth most expensive QB on the fantasy market, but only ninth in our performance rankings.
- Alfred Morris - The running game is going to be expensive in fantasy football this year. There's a premium on quality backs that get the majority of the touches in their offense. Morris is sixth in our overall performance rankings, but he's almost 50 percent less in cost than Jamaal Charles and Adrian Peterson.
- Reggie Bush - At $29, his top 10 production and ability as a receiver continue to make him very relevant. Detroit has a enough weapons to create space for him in the open field.
- Chris Johnson - The much maligned Johnson is not what he used to be, but he's only $10. And believe or not, he's been a top 7 running back over the last two years. He'll be part of a two-back set with the Jets now, but consider what you're paying.
- C.J. Spiller - Spiller has not lived up to the hype in his career, yet his fantasy production has been almost identical to that of Arian Foster over the last two years.
- Frank Gore - Every year people think his production will take a major dive. Yet he continues to pound away at defensive lines. We'll wait until he falls off officially for just $20.
Who to Avoid
At $41, DeMarco Murray barely cracks the top 15 in performance over the last two years. He's had time to prove he's elite and hasn't done it. Don't cough up that much money for underperformance.
- Brandon Marshall - OK. Not exactly a sleeper pick. But would you believe he's only the fifth most expensive receiver at $37, and he was No. 2 in production over the last two years?
- Eric Decker - He's been drastically downgraded for going from high-powered Denver to the Jets. But $4 seems too drastic for a guy with better numbers than names like Vincent Jackson, Jordy Nelson, Victor Cruz and Larry Fitzgerald.
- Wes Welker - The absence of Decker could mean more targets for Welker from QB Peyton Manning. He's only $15.
- Roddy White - He struggled with injuries last year. But don't let one year fool you - his $17 price tag is still a bargain.
- T.Y. Hilton - If he can improve his consistency just slightly, the man who had five TDs in a game last year could be a big value play at $7.
Who to Avoid
Andre Johnson - Don't be fooled again. He may seem like a bargain at $28 for his top 10 production, but there are just too many injury and age risks. Do you want to be checking in every quarter to make sure he's still in the game?
- Greg Olsen - Essentially when it comes to the tight end position, if you can find anyone other than Jimmy Graham to provide you consistent production, it's a value. Olsen is only $2 and he's a top three tight end.
- Antonio Gates - It seems like he's been around forever, but his performance last year was better than names like Rob Gronkowski. He'll cost you next to nothing.
- Martellus Bennett - Attitude problems and all, the opportunities should be plenty in the previously oxymoronic high-powered Chicago Bears offense.
Who to Avoid
The tight end position entirely. Do you have to include it in your league? If you do, don't spend $24 on Gronk. Serious injuries and surgeries add up.